LB: ‘The Silver Surfer Animated Series Was A Psychedelic Trip Through The Cosmos’

by Larry Brody

Time for another oh-so-personal admission. Hard-boiled pro that I may be, I love it when critics, viewers, readers, or even neighbors say nice things about me and/or my work.

Which means I really love the following article from

by Joshua Kristian McCoy

The 90s were the golden age of animated adaptations of classic comic series, countless comic series, whether iconic or obscure, were brought to the small screen for a new generation. There were so many hits that some got lost in the shuffle, leaving hidden gems almost 30 years in the past. Hidden gems like Silver Surfer: The Animated Series.

(LB NOTE: Here comes my favorite paragraph. OMG, it actually mentions my name!)

Silver Surfer was created by Larry Brody, who also wrote for the 90’s Spider-Man series and the Spawn animated series. The series aired on Fox Kids in 1998 alongside X-Men and Spider-Man and was owned in part by both Marvel and Saban Entertainment.

Created in 1966 by comic book legend Jack Kirby, The Silver Surfer was designed to be a new addition to the Fantastic Four team, a role he filled and has since outgrown. Rumor has it that Kirby designed the character on a whim while he and Stan Lee were working on a Fantastic Four issue. Kirby allegedly designed the character as a surfer because he was sick of drawing spaceships. Silver Surfer begins his story as a herald of the planet devouring supervillain Galactus, but he swiftly turns against his master to defend Earth, leaving him stuck there as punishment.

The most immediately striking aspect of the Silver Surfer animated series is the unique animation style. In a bizarre choice, the series merges classic cel-based animation with early computer animation to create a unique tapestry of visual art. The most consistent example is Galactus, who is a fully polygonal PlayStation 1 era character model against hand-drawn backgrounds and next to a hand-drawn Surfer. This is used to tremendous effect to grant an unsettling otherworldliness to the massive figure of Galactus. Even when it doesn’t look good, it looks weird in a special way that really sticks in the mind.

There are countless Marvel Comics characters that have not been adapted beyond the comics page, but some make their first leap into the small screen. Silver Surfer was the first onscreen appearance of a number of iconic Marvel characters, though often altered from their source material. Thanos is now best known as the ultimate villain of the MCU, but his first screentime was in the three-part pilot of Silver Surfer, where he goes on to be the series primary antagonist. Though essentially unrecognizable, Drax the Destroyer’s first onscreen appearance came in episode 5 of the series. Characters still not depicted in the MCU also made their first appearance in this show, including the magus Adam Warlock and Mjolnir wielding monster Beta Ray Bill.

The Silver Surfer is originally an astronomer called Norrin Radd from a planet called Zenn-La. In the first episode of the series, Norrin sees Galactus coming to destroy the planet and devises a plan to save his world. He rockets into space and offers the Devourer a deal, if Galactus will agree to leave Zenn-La alone, Norrin will swear his life to serving him as his herald. The heralding position entails searching the infinity of space to find only the best planets for Galactus’ consumption, so Norrin is granted a fraction of the immense Power Cosmic to better search the galaxy. This turns him into the Silver Surfer, but it also erases his memory and dulls his morality. Still, Surfer is overcome with guilt and eventually betrays his master and begins searching the universe for his missing home planet….
Thanks for loving this, Joshua. I sure did.


#tvwriting #screenwriting #writingtips #writerslife

Author: LB

A legendary figure in the television writing and production world with a career going back to the late ’60s, Larry Brody has written and produced hundreds of hours of American and worldwide television and is a consultant to production companies and networks in the U.S. and abroad . Shows written or produced by Brody have won several awards including - yes, it's true - Emmys, Writers Guild Awards, and the Humanitas Award.

2 thoughts on “LB: ‘The Silver Surfer Animated Series Was A Psychedelic Trip Through The Cosmos’”

  1. Wow, this is incredible! Hi Larry, I wrote this piece and it is an absolute honor for you to see it. I’ve been a fan of your work since I was a kid, I stumbled onto Silver Surfer on the internet in the mid 2000’s and I hoped to bring it to a new audience with my tiny platform. I’ve only been writing freelance for a few months now and I can’t tell you how cool it feels to have a writer whose work I’ve enjoyed stumble onto something I created. Thanks so much for the spotlight on my piece and for easily the most surreal mention of my name to date.

    All the best,


    1. Happy to provide surreality wherever and whenever I can, Joshua. Let me know if I can ever help you in some way. (Preferably some easy way, but I’m open.)



Leave a Reply to Joshua McCoy Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.